Friday, June 8, 2007

Celebrities screaming for their mothers

It's been kind of impossible to avoid the last few days, but part of me has kind of been interested in the Paris Hilton saga. I think it's really fascinating to watch the societally-accepted joke of a human being (which, let's face it, she is. As far as American popular culture is concerned she's not a real person). What's fascinating, though, is that she's becoming more and more human to me. By going to jail and having these emotional outbursts I'm coming to recognize her as a person, not just a random celebrity personality.

I first started thinking about it when she had to go to jail, and I realized that she is, legitimately, fucking her life up. I mean, the consequences of her actions are going to be far less terrible than the non-famous person (like, by writing exploiting her jail time she'll make mass money), but she still was legitimately going to jail for a long period of time at a relatively young age.

Now that she's in and out again (insert all the "One Night in Paris" jokes you like here), especially with the above picture, it's really humiliating. She's becoming human! Through her tragedy! For some reason this picture affects me more than I feel like it should, and more than the same picture of anyone else would. It's like seeing this shell of a fake person get broken, and there's something kind of satisfying (and horrifying) in knowing that there's a real person under there that cries in cop cars.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Anime (and more?) in the name of Academia

I've been meaning to write about this, but I haven't had a chance to until now. For one of my classes I had to go to Anime Central, an anime convention in the Chicago suburbs. It was a trip.

I'm not necessarily a fan of manga or anime. I feel that, like any other medium, they have their distinct advantages,but personally I don't know enough to really appreciate the good stuff (other than obvious things like Osamu Tezuka). So I already felt a bit out of place, but the experience itself was such a sensory overload and so many people were so incredibly excited that it was really intoxicating. I felt like I had just taken some hallucinogens and was walking around like a lost child.

The most interesting thing that I learned, though, was to what extreme extent the convention was not really just about anime. I saw a break battle, people dressed up as American stars (like Shake from Aqua Teen Hunger Force or the dude from 300), and a number of references to the "punker kids" that apparently had a large representation at the convention. This was really in contrast to a lot I'd heard about Japanese manga/anime conventions, where the sole focus is on self-made manga (dojinshi) and pure fandom of the singular form of medium. In the US maybe the subculture is too small to survive on its own so it needs help from other subcultures? OR is it that maybe the idea of singular subsets of popular culture becoming obsolete? Are we blogging and youtubing and wikipedia-ing our way out of distinct subcultures?

Maybe neither. Probably neither. But it struck me as really odd.

The Chicago Theatre Fire

Friday night I went to see the Arcade Fire at the Chicago Theatre, and though it was good, I feel like they're really looking for some kind of religious, ecclesiastical effect, which chairs and aisles tat restricted people from moving around didn't achieve. I'd seen them once before, at the Sasquatch Festival like a couple years ago, and I actually liked that first show a lot more. It was a festival, so everyone was really hot and gross and sweaty, so we all just danced around and chanted with each other, and obviously the crowd was a lot smaller, which gave a lot more gravitas to their tendency to jump around and destroy/bang on shit. In such a large context as that of the Chicago Theatre a lot of that was lost, and it was just kind of lost. I mean, it's still worth going, totally, but in my case the venue - though appropriate in some ways - kind of detracted from the performance.

Friday, April 27, 2007

I had to shout just to get my voice back

Last night I went to see The Cool Kids at Subterranean. The show itself was really great, I think Cool Kids and their crew have a real chance to put a stamp on a cultural something. Their mix of retro pastiche and nasty ass beats is pretty unique, I think, and musically they run the gamut of contemporary hip hop, from grime shit to down south to whatever. It's mad fresh.

Also, though, everyone kept hyping their myspaces. At the end of each group's set they'd yell out to peep their myspace. And it wasn't a joke (the above link is to Cool Kids' myspace, if you haven't figured it out). What the fuck? What was once a cultural mainstay for high schoolers has turned outdated....and yet with regard to music dissemination and getting people to hear your shit, it's not only an effective resource but also a totally acceptable one. And for good measure, too. In many ways it DOES offer people that wouldn't be able to hear you a chance to check you out, without having to have an actual website (which costs dollars) and giving you so much more of an audience than shitty-ass demo tapes could ever do. But, of course, this isn't anything new - at Pitchfork lost of information we get is gathered off of Myspace sites, and when I was in miscellaneous bands in high school and shit the first thing you did once you had something recorded was set up a myspace. It was just funny to see one's myspace site boasted about and advertised in such a way.

Which is an interesting display of the uses of social networking sites after they lose their relevance. They can potentially gain new relevance (perhaps unintentionally) by performing different services. Like giving you access to new bands. And porn.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Grove Street 4 Life

The image “” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.

It's warm (finally) in Chicago, and I've been eating a lot of barbeque over the weekend. It's been pretty tasty.

ALSO: I've rediscovered the joys of Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas. I've wasted a good three hours already this afternoon, and were it not for homework I probably wouldn't be finished yet. There's something about the actual gameplay and storyline and whatnot that's fun, of course, but for me there's also an added nostalgia from when my best friends and I used to gather around the television after school and take turns, each person wreaking as much havoc as possible until they died, then the next person's turn.

However, since my musical knowledge as well as my knowledge about LA has grown considerably in recent years (due to a friend in The Angels and......growing up) I've come to a little bit of a greater appreciation. Especially in light of literature/media theory, GTA stands as a vanguard for the appreciation of video games on par with other media. I mean, why not? It seems to make sense considering the recent admiration for the whole Web 2.0 (which name, of course, I hate), why can't a medium that's a mixture of user-creation and author-creation be a valid art piece?

Friday, April 20, 2007

Somehow this youtube video turned into a gift one can give on facebook. What a bizarro world this new trans-modern (or whatever) one this is.
-We in Chicago are going to host some nasty boxing. That'll be fun.

-I'm from Arizona, but nonetheless this ain't no good. Dude needs to get with the times and realize the whole "thanks to the internet everyone will see you no matter what you do" thing is real, and will (already has) fucked him and his chances up.

Monday, April 16, 2007

I just saw Judd Apatow's newest: "Knocked Up." It's really good, but I've also just recently finished watching "Freaks and Geeks" again on DVD, and I think there's something really good here (obviously). He manages to really mix emotion and comedy and come off poignant, something all too rare in modern cinema.

I think. I don't know

I've been trying to connect it with the Virginia Tech shooting today, because learning about (or empathizing with) each I got the same terrified emotion. Hearing about the shooting I realized how easy it would be for something like that to happen on my own campus, and that all of the rationale I might later (objectively) apply would go out the window, and I'd just stand like a deer in the headlights.

Which is, of course, true if I were to have a baby with somebody I didn't know. Or even somebody I did. The same gut-feeling of being too young to be involved in something so big struck me.

I wonder if that ever goes away. if we ever feel satisfied with the "work" that we've "done." I reckon not, of course, but does it ever get less fragile?

One of my best friends crashed his bike and has a broken clavicle. had a couple of cars not swerved out of the way he could be dead now. I wonder what that's like, the feeling that a split-second can save you. I mean, I guess we're all a split second away, and that that's how it works abd you just don't worry about it, but every now and then it turns the other way.

I got pretty terrified today.